Outlook: Al Thomas, who went 188-37 and won seven state titles in 20 years with Seneca Valley and Damascus, makes his debut as coach at Sherwood. His young and inexperienced Warriors will try to avenge last year's 12-0, season-opening loss to Springbrook, which went on to make the playoffs for the first time since 1994.
Outlook: Jerry Franks, the 2000 All-Met Coach of the Year at Calvert and a former coach at Northern, tries his hand with Calvert County's new high school, Huntingtown. The new school has plenty of players for a first-year school, from grades 9 through 12, and many transfers from Calvert and Northern. There is no scoreboard yet at Huntingtown, but that shouldn't stop Patuxent senior quarterback Delonte Janey, who threw for 1,010 yards and nine touchdowns last season.
Bishop McNamara at Annapolis
Outlook: McNamara has a new run-and-shoot offense, a new coach in former Syracuse standout Bryce Bevill and six new starters on offense. Annapolis also debuts a mostly new lineup under a first-year coach, Brian Brown. The Mustangs, deep at the skill positions, hope to put up big numbers behind WRs Val Ford and Brian Rogers and RB Walter Blair.
at No. 13 Liberty
Outlook: Liberty, the
defending Virginia AA Northwestern District champion, sailed unbeaten through the 2003 regular season. Two of those victories were against the Falcons by a combined score of 90-7. If Fauquier is to slow its biggest rival this season it must start by stopping senior RB Justin Carrington, who averaged a league-best 9.5 yards per carry last year.
at Bishop Ireton
Outlook: O'Connell has scored an average of 32 points against the Cardinals the past four years, all victories. Ireton, which has all but one starter back from last year's 2-7 team, hopes versatile QB Charlie West and an experienced lineup can help them end the streak. Season opener for both Northern Virginia private school teams.
Compiled by Tarik El-Bashir, Alan Goldenbach, Jake Schaller and Angela Watts